Blank v. Islamic Republic of Iran

B

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA EDITH BLANK, et al., Plaintiffs, Civil Action No. 19-3645 (BAH) v. Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, Defendant. MEMORANDUM OPINION On June 25, 1996, a devastating terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which housed United States military personnel and contractors, resulted in the deaths of nineteen service-members and severe injuries to scores of others, including three individual Air Force service members, whose five immediate family members are plaintiffs in this action. Compl. at 1–2, ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs allege that defendant, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is liable under the terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1605A, for “provid[ing] material support and resources to Hezbollah,” id. at 4, “which caused, enabled and facilitated the terrorist attack at the Khobar towers,” id. at 8. Plaintiffs have complied with the FSIA’s requirements for service on defendant, which has failed to enter an appearance or otherwise defend against this action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1608(a)(4); Return of Serv., ECF No. 15; Clerk’s Entry of Default, ECF No. 17. Four of the five plaintiffs now seek the entry of a default judgment against defendant as to liability and damages. Four Pls.’ Mot. to Take Judicial Notice of Evid. in Prior Related Cases 1 and for Entry of Default J. as to Liab. and Damages (“Pls.’ Mot.”), ECF No. 18. 1 For the reasons detailed below, default judgment as to liability and damages is granted. I. BACKGROUND Several prior decisions of this Court have found defendant, among others, liable for the Khobar Towers bombing. See Christie v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 19-1289 (BAH), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116378, at *2–4, *55–57 (D.D.C. July 2, 2020) (Howell, C.J.); Aceto v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 19-cv-464 (BAH), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22084 at *2–5, *46–49 (D.D.C. Feb. 7, 2020) (Howell, C.J.); Schooley v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 17-1376 (BAH), 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108011 at *6–8, *291–294 (D.D.C. June 27, 2019) (Howell, C.J.); Akins v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 332 F. Supp. 3d 1, 10–11, 35–37 (D.D.C. 2018) (Howell, C.J.); Rimkus v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 750 F. Supp. 2d 163, 169–70, 181–82 (D.D.C. 2010) (Lamberth, J.); Estate of Heiser v. Islamic Republic of Iran (“Heiser I”), 466 F. Supp. 2d 229, 263–65 (D.D.C. 2006) (Lamberth, J.); Blais v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 459 F. Supp. 2d 40, 54– 55 (D.D.C. 2006) (Lamberth, J.). In Blais and Heiser I, the Court heard evidence and witness testimony. See Blais, 459 F. Supp. 2d at 46–52; Heiser I, 466 F. Supp. 2d at 250. In Heiser I alone, the evidentiary hearing took seventeen days and included examination of witnesses, including seven expert witnesses. See id. 2 Rimkus, Akins, Schooley, Aceto, and Christie each 1 Plaintiffs’ counsel was unable, after much effort over a period of six months, to contact the remaining plaintiff Jim Gaydos, for a declaration and so moves here on …

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